13 Feb 2024 16:43

Russia needs standard wheat for export, not all buyers prepared to pay premium for quality - AgMin

MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) - Russia needs grain of standard parameters to maintain leadership in the global wheat market, as not all importers are ready to pay a premium for higher-quality wheat, Roman Nekrasov, director of the Agriculture Ministry's Department of Crop Production, said at a forum titled "Domestic breeding at a crossroads of the times: classical approaches and the latest trends" at the Russia International Exhibition and Forum on Tuesday.

"I would like to express the position brought to the department by our exporters. Today the world grain market is organized in such a way that not all countries are ready to pay a premium for grain quality. We need a standard protein of 12.5% and maximum yield. And this will allow our wheat to be even more competitive on the world market," he said.

According to him, Russia produces wheat with a gluten content of 25% and a protein content of 16%. "But no one is going to pay us extra for it on the world market. And, of course, we need to take these points into account while balancing the domestic market and having in mind the strengthening of Russia's position as a leading exporter of wheat," Nekrasov said.

The head of the department said that the ministry is ready to build communications between exporters, producers and science "so that those who today export record volumes of grain abroad, bring the needs of our key consumers to the attention of science and agricultural producers. This is a big issue today."

Speaking about durum wheat, Nekrasov said that "today, many agricultural producers say that Russian durum wheat is not so resistant to increased moisture. This immediately leads to a loss of quality, competitiveness and, in fact, to the loss of its main consumer property, for the sake of which we cultivate durum wheat - its hardness. Accordingly, it is no longer suitable for processing into pasta products. Here, too, this parameter should be strengthened as much as possible," he said.

In the sunflower market it is necessary to move from cultivation of varieties to cultivation of hybrids, Nekrasov also said. In terms of soybeans, the main request of farmers to seed breeders is for creation of fast-maturing varieties. "This will significantly expand the area of its cultivation. If we create a variety with a vegetation period of 80-95 days, if we create these varieties en masse, we will be able to increase soybean cultivation area by 20%," Nekrasov said.

The corn market requires waxy varieties, he said. Currently, Russia is critically dependent on imports of waxy corn.

"Speaking of potatoes, we need varieties with high starch content, we need chip varieties and varieties for the production of French fries. In these areas we have today the most significant dependence on imports," Nekrasov said.

As reported, the Russian Food Security doctrine indicators for self-sufficiency in seeds is 75%. Currently it is lower.

As First Deputy Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut said at the forum, fulfillment of the indicator "is not far off, we have a few years left [until this]".

According to her, the Agriculture Ministry has completely restructured measures of state support for this purpose. "If before dairy was the most supported sub-branch in agricultural sector, it seems to me now that seed production and breeding is rising to about the same level," she said. At the same time, all support measures, including those aimed at maintaining demand, are focused on the fact "that now in the moment to accelerate this industry well in order for a segment of the market, which was a little lost and forgotten would feel confidence and realize that it is possible to invest, Lut said. "These investments will be recouped, and the market will gladly accept all the developments," she said.